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Emerson Lake & Palmer - Trilogy CD (album) cover


Emerson Lake & Palmer


Symphonic Prog

4.13 | 1587 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars I so want to give this five stars. There are so many great musical moments on it. But four stars it is because of two weaker tracks.

Here's the breakdown.

The Endless Enigma (Part One)/Fugue/The Endless Enigma (Part Two)

This all gets lumped together because it all runs together, and it's a very nice melange. We have the avant-garde elements that we heard in Tocatta combined with the classic ELP sound (best examplar would be Karn Evil 9 part 3) and Keith's virtuoso piano. These tracks may be a bit difficult for a casual listener but any prog head will find them very rewarding.

From The Beginning

The song that features Lake is also very strong. It's not quite as catchy as Still... She Turns Me On, but it still shows of Lake at the height of his talents and the lyrics aren't nearly as insipid.

The Sheriff

Easily the lowpoint of the album. I want to like this, but I just can't. Emerson does his keyboard magic at half speed and all of the magic leaks out of it. Not enough rock, not enough good lyrics, ultimately not enough interest. This is the song that robs the album of 5 stars.


One of the joys of listening to ELP is hearing their take on classical masterpieces. It's not always an unalloyed joy (why in the hell did they have to add lyrics to The Great Gate at Kiev) but in general the adaptations are great. This is the gold standard in ELP's classical adaptations, and it's fairly faithful compared to some others. Anybody know if Emerson ever covered another Copeland work, Appalachian Spring? Feel free to send me a private message with the info if he did.


Outside of the Karn Evil 9 tracks, this may be the highest quality progressive work that ELP ever did. A very nice song in three parts that shows you exactly what ELP was all about back in the day.

Living Sin

This is the other weak track, but unlike The Sheriff it just wallows in mediocrity, not in badness. I can see the guys thinking that the driving drums, the weird vocals, and the plodding melody line are the height of coolness. Well, they aren't, but it is listenable if your expectations aren't set too high.

Abaddon's Bolero

Ok, it's a great track.... BUT....

One of my treasured possessions is a boot from a Madison Square Garden concert. This has sort of spoiled this track for me. The possibilities of a full orchestra on this make this an absolutely amazing track, and it reaches heights the album can only glance at. (After all Keith only has two hands and an orchestra has many, many hands.) But I ramble on.

What's good about this version is Keith's flying improvs over the main melody in the second half (other than the strong melody to begin with, that is.) But if you ever happen to see a version of this done with live orchestra, GET IT!!!

So anyhow, this one reaches for masterpiece status, but doesn't quite make it. What a shame.... ELP was too adventurous and eclectic to fill a vinyl with songs that would please everybody. Anyhow, 4 stars.

ghost_of_morphy | 4/5 |


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